Applied Microeconomics

Module code: ECN217

This module is concerned with the application of microeconomic theory to the understanding and critical assessment of policy. For students studying for an economics degree, the course complements core second year modules such as ECN201 by focusing on the policy application of the economic concepts developed in such modules. ECN217 will also provide an introduction to material that may be studied in greater depth in third year specialist modules.

This module contains a mix of economic theory and applications of that theory to data. It will therefore involve some knowledge of basic econometric methods.

Aims of the module

The aims of the module are:

  • To understand how wage gaps may reflect differences in productivity or discrimination
  • To acquire knowledge of economic theories of discrimination in the labour market
  • To understand how economists measure discrimination empirically
  • To critically evaluate existing theories and research

Learning objectives

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Familiarity with the main economic theories of discrimination
  • Familiarity with the key research measuring discrimination
  • An ability to critically appraise theory and evidence on discrimination


Legitimate reasons (i.e. related to productivity differences) and illegal reasons (i.e. related to discrimination) for wage gaps and how economists model discrimination in labour markets. Methods used by economists to detect/measure discrimination empirically.

Teaching methods

Lectures, workshops and tutorials


One piece of coursework (an essay) worth 25% of the total mark, and one unseen end-of-semester exam worth 75% of the total mark

Basic reading

There is no one textbook which covers all aspects of the module and hence you will be expected to use a variety of sources. Reading lists for each topic will be provided as the module progresses.

Prerequisites ECN130

Module leader Anita Ratcliffe

Semester Spring

Credits 20